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Why Study the Holocaust?

  • John K. Roth
Chapter

Abstract

Before losing her life to cancer in 1985, Charlotte Delbo wrote that she knew “the difference between before and after.”1 More than forty years earlier, on January 24, 1943, she had been deported from her native France to Auschwitz, the concentration and death camp where more than a million people were gassed to death during the Holocaust. Of the 230 women in her convoy, most of them—like Delbo herself—non-Jews who had worked in the French Resistance, she was one of only 49 who survived.2 For Delbo, after irrevocably referred to Auschwitz. Its reality, she emphasized, was “so deeply etched in my memory that I cannot forget one moment of it.”3

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Charlotte Delbo, Auschwitz and After, trans. Rosette C. Lamont (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995), p. 258.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Charlotte Delbo, Convoy to Auschwitz: Women of the French Resistance, trans. Carol Cosman (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1997).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Charlotte Delbo, Days and Memory, trans. Rosette C. Lamont (Marlboro, VT: Marlboro Press, 1990), p. 2.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, eds., Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, 3 vols. (New York: Palgrave, 2001), 3:8–9.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991)Google Scholar
  6. Jonathan Glover, Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Calel Perechodnik, Am I a Murderer? Testament of a Jewish Ghetto Policeman, ed. and trans. Frank Fox (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1987), p. 91.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Victoria J. Barnett, Bystanders: Conscience and Complicity during the Holocaust (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2000)Google Scholar
  10. Omer Bartov, ed., The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath (New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 204.Google Scholar
  11. Michael Berenbaum and Abraham Peck, eds., The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998), pp. 409–20.Google Scholar
  12. Gordon J. Horowitz, In the Shadow of Death: Living Outside the Gates of Mauthausen (New York: The Free Press, 1990).Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    Michael Berenbaum, The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company 1993), p. 220.Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    An insightful study of rescue during the Holocaust is David P. Gushee, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust: A Christian Interpretation, rev. edn. (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2003).Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    Peter J. Haas, Morality after Auschwitz: The Radical Challenge of the Nazi Ethic (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  16. Claudia Koonz, The Nazi Conscience (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003)Google Scholar
  17. John K. Roth, ed., Ethics after the Holocaust: Perspectives, Critiques, and Responses (St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 1999).Google Scholar
  18. 13.
    David H. Jones, Moral Responsibility in the Holocaust: A Study in the Ethics of Character (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).Google Scholar
  19. 16.
    Jean Améry, At the Mind’s Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities, trans. Sidney Rosenfeld and Stella P. Rosenfeld (New York: Schocken Books, 1986), p. 86.Google Scholar
  20. 23.
    Lawrence L. Langer, Preempting the Holocaust (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), p. 10.Google Scholar
  21. 25.
    Paul Mendes-Flohr and Yehuda Reinharz, eds., The Jew in the Modern World: A Documentary History, 2nd edn. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), p. 685.Google Scholar

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© John K. Roth 2005

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  • John K. Roth

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